For L.A. McCrae, beer is a ministry. She owns Black Star Line Brewing Company – the first black-owned brewery in Western North Carolina.
The brewery specializes in sweet beers and uses botanicals and herbs similar to traditional African styles.
McCrae does not want Black Star Line to be just another spot to get together for a cold one. She wants her beer to bring people together.
Many of their brews are named after activists, like Stokely Carmichael and Audre Lorde, and McCrae hopes that visitors will learn something about civil rights history while they are there. The space of the brewery itself is another opportunity for McCrae to bring social justice issues to the forefront of conversations, and she is adamant that anyone and everyone is welcome.
Growing up in Bel Air, Maryland, McCrae was involved in activism at a young age. She grew up in the church and was shaped by elders who gave her the works of intellectuals like Richard Wright and James Baldwin. Today McCrae aims to enhance her community’s critical consciousness one pint at a time.
Host Frank Stasio talks with McCrae about her Hendersonville-based brewery and her personal history with social justice activism.